Monday, 17 June 2013

Sitting with the stars

Looking at the stars
Consideration - one of the many ways of praying mentioned by Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises (fifteen-ish and counting: please don't let anyone tell you that "Ignatian prayer" only means imaginative contemplation. Maybe that's a theme for another post...)

Anyway, consideration. Many years ago I was lent a little book about prayer which talked about the prayer of consideration and said that the word comes from sedere, to sit. We sit down together (con) with God and, well, consider. Chew things over, ponder, treasure in our hearts like Mary. And that was what I thought it meant. 

Much later I heard another etymology. According to this,  Consider comes from sidus, sideris - star.  Consideration is star-gazing!  Isn't that exciting? Some echoes for me: "I will consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers" (Psalm 8); "Church bells beyond the stars heard" (one of George Herbert's definitions of prayer); and of course Oscar Wilde's "all of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars".

This week I pray that I'll make space to stop and consider. And that this will become prayer.


  1. "He determines the numbers of the stars
    and calls them each by name." (Psalm 147)

    1. Thank you - yes, there are so many connections, aren't there? I still like the sitting and pondering derivation as well, though: otherwise I wouldn't have "considered" the meaning of the word. I'd like it to mean both - bit like the inward and outward path of the Labyrinth!


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